Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween (That's when she gets so mean)

So earlier I said I would regale you with the Halloween exploits of my family and I.  Here are those exploits.  They really are not that exciting.  Saturday we were going to take Noah to some festival thing at the mall, but then Alicia decided she didn't want to go.  Thus we puttered about the house all day until it was time to go the festival thing at the school.  Alicia said it would be loads of fun.  There was to be a cake walk.  So we got Noah into his costume (hand made by his grandma).  He and the neighbor boy were going as monkeys in a barrel. 
The festival was decidedly less than exciting.  When it came time for the costume parade Noah was aces, riding in the barrel like a pro.  The neighbor boy cried whenever he was put in the barrel with Noah.
 I guess it is pretty easy to understand why.  That is one ferocious looking monkey.  They won a prize for the costume, despite the crying lad. 
After wasting a couple bucks on little games that Noah was less than interested in we went home.  We didn't bother sticking around for the cake walk.

After Noah had his Halloween fun it was time for Alicia and I to go out on the town; kick up our heels if you will.  Funny thing, though.  Due to some rather rowdy partiers back in the days of yore all of the bars on the Carbondale strip are closed the entire Halloween weekend.  Even stranger thing, you can go one short block off the strip and the bars are open.  If I owned one of the bars on the strip I would be pitching ten kinds of fits about that.
But I digress.  We did not dress up, but we went to check out a bluegrass band at a bar just off the strip.  They were ok; the opener was outstanding.  It was just one guy by the name of Alex Kirt.  He played dirty delta blues with a wicked distorted slide guitar and a little kick drum.  Great stuff.

It is now Halloween proper.  We, again, did not dress up.  We are currently sitting on the couch messing around on the computer; I blogging, my lovely wife working on my new web site (more on that in the future).  We live at the end of a road in a pretty small neighborhood, so we have only had a few trick-or-treaters.  Which is cool as it means a relatively quiet night now and more candy for me later.  And as soon as I am done posting this I am going to finish watching Nosferatu while I finish my whiskey.  Oh, and I unloaded the kiln earlier too.  All in all a good day.

The Past Three Days...

I have been trying to post this for a while, but have not found the time.  Now I am finally getting around to it, so here is what has happened in the past three days since I started writing this post.

Friday I cleaned up the bisque ware and got everything waxed and ready to glaze.  It is a pretty good load of stuff; a lot of tumblers and whiskey cups, some bowls, some mugs and a few new vases. 

I also had a couple of test ornaments in there.  I used to pit/barrel fire my ornaments but have not been able to get very good color on them.  Thus I made some ornament hangers to fire them with low fire glazes.  The hangers were basically cylinders with kanthal wire strung between the sides.

Unfortunately they will both need to be re-fired (or something) since the wire sagged quite a bit and the bottom of the ornaments stuck to the cylinders.  As a result I constructed ornament hangers 2.0. 

This should take care of the sagging wire problem at least.  These will get tested in the next bisque firing. 

Saturday was spent in Halloween endeavors.  I was going to write a bit about all that here, but I think I will save that for a different post later tonight or tomorrow. 

Sunday (after sleeping in for a good spell) I glazed everything and got the kiln loaded and firing.  I have a couple glaze tests in there; just some different clears and a satin to play around with.   I am trying not to be too anxious to pop it open.  It is currently at 650 or so, so I should be able to unload this evening some time. 
Now I have to get stuff ready for a show this weekend.  It is at a smaller college (Southern Illinois College) in Harrisburg, IL.  The spaces (if I remember correctly) are only 5.5 by 10, so I am imagining a big room, foyer, etc just lined with a bunch of tables.   I am going to have to rework my display to fit the space but keep it looking professional.  It bothers me when I go to craft fairs and it looks like vendors just set up a table and threw their wares out there.

Today I am working on a set of shelves that will sit on top of the table.  I will probably take a couple of pedestals as well.  If I have time I will tackle the problem of proper table cloths and a better looking sign.  Of course that will be between unloading and cleaning the new work, taking pictures, inventory and pricing, etc, etc.  I will try to take more pictures of everything and get them up here.  Until then.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

How to Fail at a Craft Fair

Ok, I don't really know exactly how you would go about failing at a craft fair as far as what step you would take.  I do know that I was pretty good at it a couple weeks ago, though.

Two weeks ago I had a booth at an art and wine fair near where I live.  It wasn't a big thing; one day, 30 - 40 vendors, but I figured it would be a good avenue to get my stuff out locally.  I was wrong.  During that 6 hour art and wine fair I sold exactly...wait for it...nothing.  I did not sell a single piece.  Now I have had bad fairs before, but I have always sold something, even if it was to other vendors.  Selling nothing was a first for me.  I think the biggest problem was that it was an art and wine fair.  97.4% of people were there to listen to music and drink as many free wine samples as possible, not buy stuff.  Oh well; now I know.

Last weekend I was at a fall festival in Missouri and that went a bit better.  I didn't sell quite as much as I sold there last year, but it was a slow year for the festial all around.  And now I am getting ready for a couple more fairs coming up in November and December.  These are bigger shows (I think) and are closer to the Christmas season, so I have somewhat higher hopes for them. 

Here are a few more shots of the stuff that came out of the last kiln.

Salt Jar (NaCl stamped on the lid)

Bunny mug  There is a carrot on the other side.

Salt & Pepper Shakers  Possibly my favorite color combination.

Cloud Mug  Not really fond of the color, but I dig the design.
More later.  Until then.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Recent Work

Here are finally some pictures of the finished work I pulled out of the kiln a couple weeks ago.  Later I will post some more pictures and give a brief account of the two shows I had the past couple weekends.

These oval vessels are fun to make, but they are not extremely functional.

They work ok for flowers if you use one of those green foam block things, though.

These tall-ish squared vessels were originally made as vases, but work pretty well as utensil holders.

This is a mug that I showed in progress a ways back.  Here it is finished.  The black on the rim is a comercial gold glaze that I tried as an accent, but it didn't turn gold, obviously.

I really like this design, but it took quite a to complete.

Until then.